Director Programme Operations

August 1, 2022
Application ends: August 14, 2022

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Job Description


Job Title Director Programme Operations  Reporting  to Country Director 
Location Freetown Number of Direct Reports 4
Marie Stopes Sierra Leone



Marie Stopes International (MSI) is a global social business providing personalized, high quality, affordable contraception and safe abortion services to women and girls. MSI has 13,000 team members working in 37 countries to deliver our mission: children by choice, not chance. Marie Stopes Sierra Leone (MSSL) is a founding member of the MSI Partnership, operating in Sierra Leone for over 35 years and becoming the largest non-governmental provider of family planning (FP) and sexual & reproductive health (SRH) services in the country. MSSL delivers services in every district of Sierra Leone through its Outreach, Public Sector Strengthening (PSS), Centres, Contact Centre and Social Marketing Channels. 


The Function

The MSSL Programme Operations team is responsible for ensuring that all MSSL’s programmes and operational activities are carried out to the highest quality and timely manner across all clinical and non-clinical activities (Public Sector Strengthening Channel, Outreach Channel, Programme, Monitoring and Evaluation and Research, Advocacy and External Relations). The Programme Operations team leads on programmatic and operational activity while ensuring that all MSSL standard policies and donor projects across the channels are adhered to. The team ensures that MSSL business development strategies and work plans continually drive MSSL towards program sustainability and increased uptake of FP and sexual and reproductive health products and services in Sierra Leone. 

The team contributes to furthering MSI’s mission: Children by Choice not Chance by bringing modern business approaches to MSSL’s operations and programmes in order to move the organisation towards financial sustainability, high productivity and growth. 

The Role

The  Director Programme  Operations will support the Country Director to  drive MSSL towards Programme sustainability and to increase uptake of MSSL’s services and products. The  Director  Programme Operations will provide guidance, technical support and capacity building to the the two Pillar 1 Leave No-one Behind channels (PSS and Outreach), and support the effective implementation of donor-funded projects and other Programme interventions .

The  Program Operations Director will support the Country Director to roll out all operational, programmatic and strategic activities and ensure effective implementation, continuous improvement and strengthening of MSSL’s Pillar 1 channels and Programme. This wide-ranging remit includes strategy and business development, direction and coordination of technical support to the country program, Programme development, Programme quality, capacity building, policy review and development and managing a large portfolio of grants. As well as delivering services on the ground, our focus on sustainability means we also work with governments to strengthen existing health systems and transform the political environments in which we work.

The  Director of Programme Operations will support the building of motivated and productive teams capable of implementing MSI’s strategy 2030. 

Key Responsibilities


Operational leadership

  • Work with the Country Director to drive performance of MSSL operations against agreed business plan targets, instilling a culture of continuous improvement to deliver local efficiencies and effectiveness
  • Support the identification and roll out of Success Model guidance and recommendations (and other strategic or operational programmes and initiatives) by ensuring that proper measurement of interventions and outcome is observed. 
  • Drive and monitor improvements in performance against key indicators including productivity,  PAC, CYPs, cost per CYP, % youth accessing services, % of long acting methods across the Leave No-one Behind channels.
  • Assist in the analysis of monthly performance data using management reporting packs (MRPs),CLIC, DHIS2, Infor BI and other Programme data in order to monitor progress against objectives, identify any risks and implement improvement plans as needed , and feed into the monthly review process. 
  • Work with QAMT Team to ensure operations comply with healthcare standards, donor standards and MSI Global Goods policies and donor requirements and take immediate action on any areas identified for improvement.
  • Ensure appropriate risk and contingency plans are in place across operations to anticipate risk and outline appropriate action to be taken to minimize impact. 
  • Maximize efficiencies in PSS and Outreach service delivery and expand geographical coverage with a focus on penetrating rural, poor, under-served areas of high demand, high impact clients (adolescent reach) and unmet needs.
  • Strengthen systems and ensure that all channel leads use relevant and appropriate information to inform business decisions and ensure project success.



Business Planning, Programme Implementation :

  • Work with the Country Director to develop annual business planning and OGSM setting. Contribute to planning and supporting regular MSSL strategic review and planning process, including input from all functions.
  • Contribute to the development of short- and long-range organizational objectives as well as assessing progress towards objectives and business effectiveness.                                        
  • Work with the Programme team to effectively manage the program cycle for all donor-funded grants and design annual budgets for each grant, with relevant teams. Track expenditure against budget, analyze variances and put in place mitigation to manage variances.
  • Ensure high service standards to donors, stakeholders and partners and ensure timely and quality project management and donor reporting. Strengthen the capacity of programmes team to represent, manage and  report on projects.



Program Quality Excellence and Improvement:

  • As an Operational Excellence leader, serve as the focal point for high quality output across all business functions by designing, assessing, and validating the value-add and quality of country program interventions, activities, and strategies.
  • Drive high-performance culture within the country program in PSS and OR. 
  • Demonstrate and drive process to reduce program risks, financial and reputational risks in implementation of MSSL projects.
  • The incumbent will be responsible for sense-checking, quality-assuring submissions from projects including quality of reports, concept notes, TORs, business cases, investment applications, and SOPs.


Business Development and Resource mobilization

  • Work closely with the  Country Director to pursue opportunities and raise new donor funds; lead the development of high-quality proposals. 
  • Participate in national business development and expansion and lead in development of strategic initiatives/plans.
  • Work with the Country Director on donor relations, both existing and potential new donors, and other stakeholders and ensure the programmes team delivers high-quality, timely and accurate project reports.
  • With  CD; develop plans for new business and lead on proposal writing in collaboration with MSSL SMT, MSI regional support team and GSO PDD unit.
  • Keeping up with business trends, government economic and financial policies, and changing markets.
  • To diversify donor portfolio and identify new sources of funding and partnership opportunities for the Country Program.
  • To engage on fund raising opportunities and lead on any funding raising initiative.
  • Using knowledge of the market and competitors, identify and develop MSSL’s unique selling propositions and differentiators as appropriate.   
  • Launch, maintain and nurture a core resource mobilization team and proposal writing nucleus to secure viable funding opportunities.
  • Create a sales pipeline by sourcing by sourcing new business opportunities nationally, targeting new markets or new demographics.
  • Ensure MSSL is aware of all national tender opportunities. 
  • Preparing detailed growth budgets that grow market share and profitable revenue.
  • Keep abreast of proposed changes in healthcare and identify the opportunities or threats these may present to MSSL.
  • Collaborate with LSO teams to communicate and strategize on new business development opportunities.
  • Provide competitor analysis and updates; develop market intelligence to ensure MSSL is ahead of other providers.
  • To support the Country Director to ensure all contracts are maintained as per contractual requirements. Risk assess all contracts against agreed template.

Public Sector Strengthening / Integrated Services Channel

  • Development and management of the PSS channel to increase access to quality FP and improve capacity for FP service provision in selected public health facilities and Districts
  • Develop and manage government relations of the PSS channel.
  • Provide strategic leadership and management to all PSS operations and activities, build, strengthen and lead teams to achieve project targets and milestones in a timely manner.
  • Logistic, Data and other Resource management.
  • Operational Leadership in the PSS and integrated services channel
  • Clinical excellence and Client Care
  • Strategy and development within the PSS and integrated services sector to drive FP uptake 

Staff Mentorship and Human capacity Development

  • Proactively mentor and/or coach the Outreach Channel Lead, PSS/DISMs coordinator , Programme Manager and DISMs to critically assess opportunities to improve income, reduce costs, maintain excellent quality and increase client flow.
  • Role model MSI’s core values and demonstrate MSI behaviours at all times.
  • Ensure that team members across your delivery channels are highly motivated and dedicated to the project. Motivate, coach, train and continuously review performance targets.
  • Coach, develop, mentor and supervise team members and influence them to take positive action and accountability for their work.. Provide opportunities for professional development and career progression to talented team;
  • Support recruitment, personal and professional development of  team members in collaboration with the  the HR Team.


Experience (essential/desirable)

  • Experience working in an overseas development Programme is essential; ideally within Africa and within the health or family planning sector.
  • Extensive senior level leadership and management experience in a large and complex international organisation managing a Programme/operational team, preferably in international development or the health sector.
  • Experience managing multi-tiered management structures. 
  • Extensive experience in managing donor funded project life cycles including FCDO.
  • Strong networking , business development and advocacy skills. Credibility to lobby, influence and represent MSSL at all levels.
  • Excellent communication skills are required particularly around negotiation, influencing and conflict management. 
  • Proven experience of driving impact, quality and sustainability in international programmes and improving operational standards.
  • Demonstration of ‘making things happen’, operating at pace and delivering effectively through others.
  • Proven record of high standards of performance.
  • Indepth knowledge of MSI operations, values, business excellence models (Essential).
  • Previous/relevant experience in the Sierra Leonean context will be an added advantage

Qualifications and Training (essential/desirable)

  • Post-graduate level qualification in Business Administration, Health Sciences or International Development (desirable).
  • Knowledge of international development, clinical health, family planning, community outreach and social marketing is also desirable.
  • Post-graduate level membership/affiliation in relevant professional bodies (Desirable).

Personal Attributes

  • Results driven.
  • Motivated and energetic.
  • Strong commitment to the goals and vision of MSI and MSSL.
  • Pro-choice.
  • Able to develop and articulate a clear business vision and plan; proven strategic planning skills
  •  Strong leadership and management skills; able to effectively build capacity.
  • Excellent interpersonal/communication skills – both reading and fluent spoken English language and Krio desirable.


MSI Behaviours and Values


Team Member Behaviours

Work as One MSI

  • You contribute, use, and share accurate data and evidence to improve understanding, insight and decision-making across MSI, enabling us to maximize our ability to influence others
  • You share relevant knowledge, expertise and resources to strengthen teamwork and prevent duplication of effort
  • You actively work as part of a team, providing support and flexibility to colleagues, demonstrating fairness, understanding and respect for all people and cultures.

Show courage, authenticity and integrity

  • You hold yourself accountable for the decisions you make and the behaviours you demonstrate
  • You are courageous in challenging others and taking appropriate managed risks.

Develop and grow

  • You seek feedback to enable greater self-awareness and provide the same to others in a way which inspires them to be even more effective
  • You manage your career development including keeping your knowledge and skills up to date.

Deliver excellence, always

  • You strive to consistently meet and exceed expectations, putting clients at the Centre of everything, and implement smarter, more efficient ways of performing your role
  • You build and maintain effective long-term working relationships with all stakeholders, and are a true MSI ambassador.

Leadership (For Leaders only)

  • You inspire individuals and teams, through situational leadership, providing clear direction
  • You seek and provide opportunities which motivate team members, helping to develop skills and potential whilst strengthening our talent and succession pipeline
  • You are aware of emerging developments in our sector, demonstrating strategic insight about our clients and business and encourage this in your team
  • You articulate a vision of the future which inspires and excites others.

MSI Values



  • Mission driven: With unwavering commitment, we exist to empower women and men to have children by choice not chance
  • Client centered: We are passionate about our clients and dedicate our efforts to delivering agreed objectives to the highest possible quality
  • Accountable: We are accountable for our actions and take responsibility for everything we do to ensure long term sustainability and increased impact
  • Courageous: We recruit and nurture talented, passionate and brave people who have the courage to push boundaries, make tough decisions and challenge others in line with our mission.